Every employer has a goal of boosting productivity among workers. When employees are productive, the company is more likely to achieve its goals and become successful. Employers often do what they can to boost productivity, whether it’s increasing salaries or offering bonuses. However, many scientific studies have looked into productivity and found that it’s not always motivated by money.
There are other factors that affect productivity. Employees who are sick, for example, will not likely be productive. Those who are experiencing high levels of stress are also bound to be less productive.
The environment in which people spend eight hours or more of their day can impact their output. The office should be optimized to improve productivity. One important factor that every employer needs to consider is thermal comfort.
Thermal comfort refers to the level of satisfaction people feel in a given environment regarding temperature.
In order to be comfortable, an individual’s skin needs to be at the same temperature as the air surrounding it. If this isn’t achieved, there is a risk of thermal discomfort. Thermal discomfort impacts productivity levels and is most likely to occur when employees are working under cold or hot conditions.
Too Hot, Too Cold
Temperature is a common issue in offices. Because it’s an enclosed space, the temperature depends highly on the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system of the building. Although most offices have a thermostat that allows employees to adjust the internal temperature, feeling too hot or cold remains an issue.
The ideal temperature for productivity is between 68 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit, according to OSHA. Other elements such as the amount of natural sunlight that comes into the building and a person’s preference. Some people just like to work in an environment that is cooler, some like warmer rooms.
In fact, in one survey conducted in 2015, 42 percent of workers who responded said that their office building is too warm. Meanwhile, 56 percent said it’s too cold.
Women are also more likely to feel cold than men because of metabolic rate. The metabolic rate is the rate at which chemical reactions in the body break down food into energy. Women generally have less muscle and more fat — which produce less heat — than men.
The Influence of Humidity
Humidity can also affect the internal temperature and thermal comfort of employees in an office. When the humidity levels are too high, this can lead to thermal discomfort. Too low and it can cause dry skin, chapped lips, and make it harder to breathe. HVAC systems tend to remove moisture from the indoor air which leads to low humidity levels.
This has led many companies to seek humidifier installation in their offices to re-inject moisture back into the indoor air and make the working environment comfortable for employees. The presence of indoor plants also adds humidity into an otherwise dry office air.
But how much humidity is too much? The ideal amount of humidity in an office is between 40 and 60 percent. Anything lower than 30 percent can make breathing more difficult for employees. Anything higher would lead to too much moisture in the air which could lead to mold growth.
A humidity monitoring device could help employers keep track of temperature and humidity levels in the office.
Adequate Air Circulation
How fresh the air feels in a building is another important factor that impacts morale and productivity. The use of windows and other ventilation systems help to circulate the indoor air which can also reduce the spread of airborne illnesses that impact office productivity.
When the temperature and humidity levels are appropriate, it allows for circulated air. This creates a more comfortable environment that can lead to increased productivity.
In addition, air circulation is necessary to prevent the spread of disease-causing viruses and bacteria. Employees tend to conduct business more efficiently when they feel healthier. When one or more employees are sick, obviously, the entire office’s output is affected. Better air circulation and ventilation could lead to a lower rate of absenteeism and will boost productivity.
This is why it’s important for employers to keep an eye on humidity levels and use a digital monitoring device that will provide accurate readings within the office environment.
In order to successfully improve the office environment, companies should analyze the relationship between air quality and thermal comfort as part of their productivity strategy. Employers should monitor the air quality and indoor comfort levels on a daily basis to reduce productivity losses.